A review I just wrote on Google plus but I'm not allowed too give links so here is the content. NB it is not easy to publish here, I am not sure if I am allowed to edit my own post. ..
A friend of mine asked about my Galaxy Note, about it's size compared to the Kindle and if it is a nice device for reading the Web on the couch.
The size of the Galaxy Note is to be compared with the size of a small wallet containing a passport, some cards and some banknotes. I always have such a wallet in my left pocket, and care so much about smallness that I asked a street tailor to cut one for me, to the smallest practical size for a single passport. This wallet is just a bit bigger than my phone. Both fit in my pockets, why my keys, some random stuff (I currently have a small Lego toy and some firecrackers leftover). Because I don't like using a screen protector, I have a flip-cover thing on my phone, and then it looks even more like a wallet.
So it is big, and some call it a "phablet", but to me the Galaxy Note it is still a plain normal smartphone, like my previous Nexus One. The reason it is still a phone is that it lives in my pocket and follows me everywhere. It is not a tablet you would keep in a suitcase, and use to show documents to your boss during meetings. It is not a Kindle you bring during holidays or plane trips for long-form readings. It is just a big phone and once you get it at your hands, all other phone look like toys for dwarfs. Every time I have to use my wife's small screen phone (a Nexus S), I wonder why the screen is so small and what can be done with it, except for receiving calls.
So you'll forget about the size of the screen much faster than you'll forget that your keyboard has no real buttons (if you ever forget that). To be true, I am reminded of the big size of the screen on some apps whose UI is not yet adapted to these screen resolutions. Just one example: the stock browser has pages and bookmarks buttons on top bar, and they should be on bottom bar, because often used buttons should be closer to where your fingers are most of the time.
Apart from this little annoyance (which should be fixed with the next version of any good apps), all in all, using this device for toilet or couch Web surfing is perfectly good for me. At home, in the evenings or the week-ends, I very rarely start my computer anymore, but I still check mails, news, social networks. In fact, I do these more than ever, but on the sofa or the bed. (For a good web page viewing, remember to double tap to zoom in and out, and allow auto resize in settings, so you don't have to scroll left-right.)
The Galaxy Note also excels in content production. For instance, I did write the draft of this long piece of text on my phone. It is a device where it makes sense to edit pictures, write draft documents, take screen shots, draw diagrams, and so on. I think apps did not make the move yet, and a good mobile text editor could find it's user on this phone.
Maybe I have fat fingers but I had an error rate approaching 30% when typing on my previous phone's keyboard. Now this rate fell below 10% (which is still too high, I am waiting for the guy who will invent a good way to input text efficiently without a full hardware keyboard).
On smaller screens, one need to have a few homes to organize most used apps, and then you need an app to manage these homes, and you have to have transitions between the screens, which are just hiding the misery of having not enough room on your screen under some CPU-hungry useless eye-candy. On my Galaxy Note I just have one home with all apps' icons I daily use and two folders for the less used apps. I even have enough room for a picture of my kid and a News/Weather widget. I also avoid auto-rotating the display, which is more annoying than useful most of the time.
A bigger phone means a bigger battery and extended battery life. I had two batteries for my previous device, so I could switch them halfway over Siberia's oh-so strange landscapes while flying between Europe and China. I may well not have to buy another one for the Galaxy Note, but I am not sure as battery power is still a serious limitation of every big screen handheld device, except the Kindle.
I rarely use the pen but it is helpful sometime, for example when editing pictures. I recently remove a cigarette tip from Lover beach sand in Sanya and would not have been able to do that without the pen. I would appreciate a way to manually calibrate it's direction (the auto-calibrate is not good enough for me), and I think the pen's button should be used to display a crosshair on the screen before starting to draw, because the thickness of the glass means an offset between the pixel you point at and the pixel you act on.
The question about Galaxy Note that seem to be raised by most reviewer is about phone calls. True, it can be a bit less convenient, but calls is an anecdotal use-case of my phone. Should I to give a long call I would put headphones anyway, and a long important call is one of the rare things I actually like to do in front of a desktop computer.
Having an external SD card slot is useful. I brought all my music, audio books, pictures and video from my previous phone to my new phone through the SD card. I would have missed that on a Galaxy Nexus.
And a good companion
I was considering buying both a phone and a tablet, before choosing the cheaper option of the Galaxy Note. Until now I am very happy with this choice: I won;t have synchronization headaches, I won't have the "should I bring my tablet to the swimming pool" dilemma, I will just always bring my roboty friend in my pocket and that's all.